Mississippi John Hurt was one of the most popular and influential guitarists in the Country Blues Style. His playing was graceful and complemented his gentle voice perfectly. Most of his songs featured Travis-style alternate bass picking, although he was generally not concerned with traditional harmony or establishing consistent patterns, as much as creating a solid and fascinating accompaniment to his songs. He commonly played in 4 different keys, and in this package we look at an example of each one, as well as a very basic instrumental to get started.
Lesson 1: Ain't No Tellin' Guitar Lesson - Mississippi John Hurt
Ain't No Tellin' by Mississippi John Hurt takes us into another of his favorite keys, C Major, and uses most of his typical licks in that key. It is an example of the 16-bar blues form, really more of a folk form, that he commonly used as well. The Travis-style accompaniment includes using the left thumb to wrap around to fret the 6th string for F chords, but otherwise the main challenges with the song are the speed and synchronizing the vocals.
Lesson 2: Candy Man Blues Guitar Lesson - Mississippi John Hurt
Candy Man Blues is by Mississippi John Hurt and is one of his more complex songs. It features the alternating bass technique but not always in the standard order. It also uses some passing bass notes and unusual inversions of chords where open bass strings are used that are not normally part of the chord. It is in the key of A and includes some interesting chord shapes up the neck in the solo section.
Lesson 3: Got The Blues Guitar Lesson - Mississippi John Hurt
Got The Blues, Can't Be Satisfied is another example of Mississippi John Hurt's delicate fingerpicking style. It uses his typical alternating bass accompaniment to little licks and fills in the key of G. It is a modified 12-bar progression, having 2 extra half measures to complete a signature fill of his and particularly challenging because it is played pretty quickly and includes vocals sung over a couple of bluesy licks
Lesson 4: Shake That Thing Guitar Lesson - Mississippi John Hurt
As was alluded to in our Country Blues Volume 1 set of lessons, we are bringing you some fingerstyle blues by Mississippi John Hurt. One of his simplest songs is Shake That Thing, a tune that showcases some easy licks in the key of G and is our starting point for exploring more from this blues legend.
Lesson 5: Stagolee Guitar Lesson - Mississippi John Hurt
Stagolee is another staple in the Country Blues world from Mississippi John Hurt. His arrangement showcases an unusual 11-bar blues form and is done with a steady alternating bass in the key of D. Like many of his tunes, it features clever, but simple licks found in the chord shapes.